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Wellness in the Woods founder receives award

At the Minnesota Rural Health Conference in Duluth this week, some of Minnesota's public health workers received recognition for their service to the state's rural communities and residents.

The Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Rural Health Association and Duluth-based National Rural Health Resource Center presented the 2017 Minnesota Rural Health Awards honoring outstanding service to rural Minnesota communities.

Jode Freyholtz-London, founder and executive director of Wellness in the Woods based in Verndale, received the Rural Health Hero award.

Freyholtz-London is a tireless advocate for consumer-level mental health awareness, advocacy and education, a news release stated. Wellness in the Woods partners with individuals and communities in rural Minnesota to identify and develop the support needed for wellness. It is recognized by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as the principal consumer-run mental health awareness, advocacy and training organization in Minnesota.

Also recognized was the North Shore Health Care Foundation's Oral Health Task Force, receiving the Rural Health Team award; and Dr. George Rounds, retired physician from Bigfork Valley, receiving the Rural Health Lifetime Achievement award.

"The honorees embody the spirit of service and innovation that helped Minnesota build a robust, nationally respected rural health system," stated Dr. Ed Ehlinger, MDH commissioner, in the release. "They exemplify the many ways people work to promote health and strengthen rural communities."

The Minnesota Rural Health Conference presents these awards each year. This year's conference focused on "Shaping Sustainable Solutions." Visit for more information.